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Attending a Conference? Here Are a Few Dressing Tips to Keep in Mind!

How to dress smartly for a conference

Confused about what to wear to a conference? No worries, we give you practical and easy tips…

As an entrepreneur, chances are that you will be attending conferences – either presenting or as part of an audience. Either way, it makes sense to dress formally for a conference since it is a business meeting where you will be interacting with peers, clients, customers, potential investors, etc. When you dress sharp, you come across as professional and as someone to be trusted.

So how do you dress tastefully for a conference? It’s quite simple. First you need to figure out what kind of a gathering it is. For certain occasions, a dress code may have been specified. In that scenario, it’s very easy since you know what you need to wear. However, if that is not the case, then you would need to consider the kind of conference it is, where it is being held and what you perceive would be a suitable dress code. For instance, if it’s a formal conference with investors, a flowy dress or loafers and jeans may not cut it. It could also depend on the country. Americans tend to be a bit more relaxed; but if you are at a conference with Europeans or Japanese, you would certainly need to dress formally. So, here are some ideas on dressing suitably for conferences.

Dressing tips for men

For Men

  • For a formal conference a suit is the safest option. You can never go wrong with a smart suit complete with a natty tie. Polished shoes and matching socks will complete the ensemble!
  • If it’s a day-time conference which is more casual, you could opt for a smart full-sleeved shirt with matching trousers. Ditch the bold prints for a night out in town. Wear a sober shirt – either a plain pastel shade or white or with small checks or stripes. Nothing loud!
  • Don’t forget to wear a smart belt. And your shoes matter. No loafers, sandals, hiking boots or sneakers. Stylish leather shoes will complete your attire.
  • And do remember, if you are in shirt and trousers, the shirt needs to be tucked in.
  • If it is cold, you could always wear on a smart pullover. Again, remember to wear one in neutral shades. No bright red pullover with a border of reindeer that was knitted by your grandma!

Smart dressing tips for women attending conferences.

For Women

  • In India, the ubiquitous sari is a go-to attire for any formal function including a conference. However, do exercise restraint. No ostentatious Kanjeevarams or Benarasi saris with lots of gold. Wear a chiffon, a printed silk or a crisp, cotton sari.
  • Salwar kameez or a kurta or kurti teamed with palazzos is another elegant option.
  • If you are comfortable in western wear, you could wear a skirt suit or a pair of formal trousers teemed with a jacket. A crisp white shirt would go well with either. You could also add a pop of color with a pretty scarf or stole.
  • Wear minimal jewelry and avoid anything that jingles and jangles. A pair of studs and a slender chain with a locket, a watch and a bracelet would work.
  • Your footwear should be formal and comfy. If you are presenting and have to stand on stage in a pair of uncomfortable stilettos, it can impact your presentation because if you are in pain it will reflect in your attitude. Ideally wear closed shoes or sandals that are chic and comfortable. No sneakers, flip-flops or flashy footwear please!

A woman animatedly leading a discussion.

A couple of points more before we wind up. Body odor can be very off-putting so a shower and shave is essential. Many people are allergic to perfumes. Plus, if you are in a closed setting, heavy, cloying perfumes can give others a headache. Thus it would make sense to wear a perfume that is light and refreshing. If it is a formal evening conference followed by dinner, you could explore the option of wearing a heavier fragrance.

There is no point in dressing smart if you are not well groomed. So do ensure that your hair is washed and combed and not sticking out madly. Nails should be trimmed and clean. A tip for women: either go with unpolished nails or polished nails but no chipped nail polish please. Do ensure that your shoes are not scruffy or giving way and that they are polished and shining!

KISS – keep it simple and smart. Yes, that’s it. Dressing up for a conference can be a breeze!